Category: Sales Strategy

Re-Thinking Strategy For Sales Success

If strategy is going to work for sales managers it needs a re-think.  The Sales Strategy Pitstop® re-invents strategy in order to meet the needs of sales managers.

 
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Want To Fast-Track Your Sales Agenda?

Most sales managers have an agenda that they want to push through.  However, they can be frustrated by the pace at which they can affect the changes required to make it happen.

The reality is that getting organisation-wide agreement about what must be done to accelerate sales can be a challenge.  Even if there is agreement, translating it into action can be tedious and slow.

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Are You A Strategist Or A Tactician?

Would you rather be seen by your colleagues as a strategic genius, or an effective tactician?  Well, perhaps it depends on your pay grade, or job title.

On a practical level whether you are a strategist or a tactician, depends on your answer to the following questions:

  • Do you take one day/week/month at a time?  Or can you look beyond this quarter?
  • Do you see the bigger picture?  Or is it a struggle to ‘see the wood from the trees’?
  • Are you (and your team) working hard, or working smart?
  • Is your approach that of the rifle, or shotgun?
  • Is everybody singing of the same hymn sheet?
  • Do you have clear priorities, or are you simply fire fighting?

There are opportunities for most managers to become a little more strategic in both their thinking and their approach.  It means an approach to developing sales that is more:

  • Deliberate and considered (the planning and information gathering in strategy)
  • Consistent and co-ordinated (the clarity, direction and focus in strategy)
  • Long term – looks beyond this quarter (to adopt a longer term view)
  • Ongoing – one that avoids costly stop-starts and zig zag courses of action
  • Priority driven – makes trade-offs and sets priorities (that is decision making and resource allocation in strategy)
  • Realistic / pragmatic and yet ambitious, or visionary (setting strategic goals)
  • Colective/team based – to which everybody has subscribed (it is not just the managers / CEOs strategy)
  • Resource concious – allocated resources in the most deliberate and focused manner possible (the essence of strategic priorities)
  • Strategic – makes real choices about where and how to compete/grow (the essence of competitive strategy).

What Is The Strategy Pit-Stop?

The Pit-Stop is a familiar concept from motor racing, where the car pulls into the pits occasionally in order to refuel, repair and otherwise optimize the vehicle (and the driver too!).  It is designed to make the car go faster and increase the chances of winning the race.

The Sales Strategy Pit-Stop® for sales managers is something similar.  It is an opportunity to quickly pull aside in order to review performance and make essential corrections.  We have applied some of the key elements of the F1 Pit-Stop to sales strategy:

1. It has to be fast – typically a pit-stop is over in just 10 seconds.  The Strategy Pit-Stop takes a little longer – 30 minutes in total – however compared to the hours spent in strategy workshops and ‘blue ocean’ management meetings it saves organisations lots of time.  It means that when managers get together to talk strategy the agenda is focused and clear.

2. It must involve the team – a F1 pit-crew can be as big as 20 people.    The Strategy Pit-Stop pools the views and insights of all those concerned to drive sales strategy.  It is the most effective way of getting a consensus regarding strategy.

3. It helps ensure success – during a ten-second pit stop, a car’s competitors will gain approximately one-half kilometer over the stopped car.    However, Pit Stops are essential to winning the race, whether that is in selling, or in Formula 1.

4. The Pit-stop prevents problems before they happen – Some times drivers are forced into the pit lane by an unexpected technical problem, however in most cases pit stops are a pre-planned element of the race strategy.  It is an opportunity to refuel the car, change the tyres (especially if the car is seeking the advantage of lighter fuel loads, and softer tyres that deliver better traction).  It is also a chance to ensuring the driver can see clearly (by washing the windscreen!).

5. It involves the effective use of technology – in the F1 pit-stop even filing the tank is sophisticated (at a rate of 12, or more litres per second). Just as sophisticated computer diagnostics are attached to the F1 car, The Strategy Pit-Stop employs an online diagnostic to more effectively gather, analyze and report on all the information gathered.  Underpinning this diagnostic is a sophisticated body of best practice research and benchmarking data.

6. The pit-stop focus on how to optimize the performance of the car.  The most obvious being fuel and tyres, while others include the air intake; the wind-shield, suspension settings, and aerodynamic devices.  The Strategy Pit-Stop is similar it focuses on those elements essential to optimizing, or accelerating sales – one for each key features of the car – the steering (strategic direction), the sales engine, the driver and so on.

7. In the pit-stop there is a consistent methodology and nothing is left to chance. The Strategy Pit-Stop adopts a consistent unified approach, this ensures that all your colleagues are addressing the same issues and even using the same language.  It also enables comparison or benchmarking with peers and comparisons over time.

The Sales Strategy Pit-Stop® holds a mirror up to your organisation’s strategy for growth.  It asks the right questions in the most direct and straight-forward way possible (something that given the jargon filled nature of strategy is very important).

The Sales Strategy Pit-Stop® approaches the issue of business strategy from the sales and marketing angle to address the issue of how to accelerate sales growth.